L. David Mech
|Dr. L. David Mech|
18 January 1937 |
Syracuse, New York, United States
|Alma mater||Cornell University,
|Known for||Wolf ecology and behavior research|
|Institutions||University of Minnesota,
U.S. Geological Survey
Lucyan David "Dave" Mech, PhD (born January 18, 1937) is an American wolf expert, a senior research scientist for the U.S. Department of the Interior (since 1970), currently with the Department of Interior's U.S. Geological Survey (since 1973), and an adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul. He has researched wolves since 1958 in places such as Minnesota, Ellesmere Island, Canada, Italy, Alaska, Yellowstone National Park, and on Isle Royale.
Mech is the founder of the International Wolf Center and sits on its Board of Directors as Vice Chair. The project to create the facility, which he started in 1985, was a natural outgrowth of his wolf research as well as his ambition to educate people about the nature of wolves that they may come to respect the creature through understanding.
He has published eleven books and approximately 380 scientific and 100 popular articles about wolves and other wildlife, the most famous of these being his books The Wolf: The Ecology and Behavior of an Endangered Species (1970, University of Minnesota Press) and Wolves: Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation which he co-edited with Luigi Boitani (2003, University of Chicago Press). Both books remain in print as of 2017. The 1997 book The Arctic Wolf: Ten Years with the Pack received an Honorable Mention by the National Outdoor Book Award (Nature and the Environment category). His latest book with Doug Smith and Dan MacNulty is Wolves on the Hunt: the Behavior of Wolves Hunting Wild Prey.
Career and research
From 1958 to 1962 Mech was a graduate student at Purdue University studying the wolves of Isle Royale in Lake Superior. One of the first publications on the subject of the Wolves on the Island of Isle Royale was the book "The Wolves of Isle Royale" by Mech which led to the prominence of both the author and the topic. The book was published in 1966 by the Department of the Interior, having evolved from his doctoral thesis. Mech has been called one of the foremost wildlife biologists in the world. In 1966 he went to study wolves in the Superior National Forest in Minnesota.
|“||My research involves monitoring wolf-deer relations in the Superior National Forest of Minnesota, determining the degree and manner of influence of each population on the other, and exploring the role of other factors, especially snow conditions and canine parvovirus, that influence the system. With the same system and research techniques, I am also attempting to learn as much as possible about basic life history, movements, and social ecology of both species. I have also conducted research in Denali National Park, Alaska; Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada; and in Yellowstone National Park. The Denali work involved examining the interactions between wolves and caribou, moose, and Dall sheep. The Ellesmere research concentrates primarily on observing the interactions of pack members with each other and with pups around a den. Supplementary work in the area includes observing wolf interactions with musk-oxen and arctic hares as well as studying wolf movements throughout the year remotely by GPS radio collars in collaboration with co-workers. The Yellowstone National Park studies concentrate primarily on wolf interactions with prey, including mortality and survival studies of elk.||”|
Positions on hunting, fishing and trapping and wolf management
David Mech is an avid mushroom hunter and fur trapper and is not anti fishing, anti-hunting, or anti-trapping, which brings criticism from animal protectionists. He believes that states can manage wolves sustainably, and that states where the wolf is no longer on the endangered list should determine how wolves should be managed in their state. On his website, he lists mink trapping as one of his interests. He closed the abstract to "Is science in danger of sanctifying the wolf?" published in the January 2012 issue of Biological Conservation with "The wolf is neither a saint nor a sinner except to those who want to make it so." 
Mech's first book was published in 1966 and has written 11 published books. The International Wolf Center lists approximately 140 articles written by Mech published during the period of 1987 to the present, primarily in scientific journals.
For further reading
- The Far Reach: The lifework of a Minnesota biologist circles the world by Greg Breining Pages 32-41 Minnesota Department of Resources Conservation Volunteer Magazine. January–February 2004
- https://fwcb.cfans.umn.edu/personnel/david-mech University of Minnesota information page on David Mech Retrieved March 4, 2017
- http://www.davemech.com/management.html David Mech's position on wolf management by David Mech
- http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/2/16/1168581/--Science-is-self-correcting-on-Wolves '"Science is self correcting" - on Wolves' by Ban Nock Retrieved February 16th., 2017
- Webpage of L. David Mech
- http://www.floridalupine.org/publications/PDF/Mech-2012-Is-Science-in-Danger-of-Sanctifying-the-Wolf.pdf Is science in danger of sanctifying the wolf? by L. David Mech Januuar 12012 issue of 'Biological Conservation' Retrieved February 16, 2017
- http://www.wolf.org/wolf-info/basic-wolf-info/in-depth-resources/scientific-publications/ International Wolf Center listing of published articles by David Mech retrieved February 15th 2017
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